Difficulties in accessing trade finance, red tape and a lack of strategy are all factors severely impacting export growth in the UK, according to new research by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).
The BCC survey reports that out of more than 8,000 UK businesses, 63% of potential exporters see access to financing as a reason not to trade overseas.
25% of companies believe that red tape, such as export licenses, is a barrier to trading abroad, and 74% of firms that are already exporting don’t have an export strategy in place.
John Longworth, director general of the BCC says: “There are still not enough of our great British businesses taking their products overseas. These results show that many firms lack an export strategy, and many only became exporters by chance. We need to find ways to make our businesses think global, and provide them with the support they need to break into new markets.”
Doing this, Longworth says, will not only help boost the UK economy, but it will demonstrate that Britain is “a major global competitor and a nation to do business with”.
Meanwhile, the survey reported that 20% of exporters are unaware or lack the knowledge of local export services and guarantee schemes, with only 3% of businesses currently using export credit agency UK Export Finance.
44% of respondents said they would be more likely to consider exporting if sales revenues deteriorated, while 56% of those already exporting said they would look to increase exports further if faced with deterioration in domestic market conditions.
Longworth believes that it is in the government’s power to give firms the confidence and encouragement they need to trade overseas. One way to do this, he adds, is by incentivising firms to take part in trade missions and adapt their products for the export market.
“Furthermore, creation of a state-backed business bank would help solve problems around access to finance, which a large number of firms said prevented them from exporting. We need to get behind our businesses and give them the support they need to drive an export-led recovery.”